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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  August 11, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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tonight breaking news, a deadly plane crash in a remote rugged region of alaska claims the lives of former u.s. senator ted stevens and at least four others. good samaritans helped save several survivors including former nasa chief sean o'keefe and his son and then is president obama helping or hurting his own party? can sarah palin lay claim to the most political clout in 2010? plus embattled representative charlie rangel, defiant, defensive and daring congress to throw him out of congress. >> don't leave me swinging in the wind until november. >> right now on "larry king live." good evening. i'm tavis smiley. we'll get to the latest on that deadly plane crash.
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cnn has been covering this story all day. casey you have been on top of it. tell me what the latest savarding the death of former u.s. senator ted stevens. >> reporter: we just heard a news briefing from the chairman of the national transportation safety board. they arrived into alaska about the same time we did, midday today and got to the closest town. they have great difficulty to get to the scene because it's in a remote area. we're learning new details about what happened at least in the aftermath of this crash. what they described is a debris field of about 100 yards, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain, about 1,000 feet up that mountain in a very remote area. they were on their way, these nine people on their way to a fishing camp and the be folks at the lodge they left from had not heard from them. they were worried about what time they would come back for
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dinner. when they didn't hear from them they sent occupant rescue flights to find this plane and ultimately some people flying over, locals did spot the wreckage and they describe a scene that one of the pilots, volunteer pilots we spoke with earlier today said he was shocked that there were actually any survivors of this flight. he said the planing looked like it just went straight into a mountain. the wings of the plane he described as being tipped back from the fuselage. he said the front of the plane and the ntsb also confirmed this was smashed in. surprisingly, though, we learned that none of the nine passengers aboard this plane were actually ejected. all of them stayed inside the fuselage of the plane. four survivors. five fatalities, including senator steven and one much those survivors, as you mentioned, sean o'keefe former administrator of nasa. it must have been a harrowing
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night for those folks who spent the night in that plane because rescuers were presfrentd getting to the area because of the weather. a doctor was airlifted 1,000 feet away from the cash site and she hiked newspaper to the mountains to provide comfort and aid to shows survivors. they would not characterize what those survivors told the doctor or told rescuers. the four survivors are back in anchorage in the hospital as well as the bodies of the five fatal victims. >> let me ask you two quick questions. first question is, given what we know at this moment and i recognize the investigation has just now beginning, does weather appear to be the culprit? >> reporter: the investigators are not saying anything about what the cause will be and said they won't make that determination for a long time. the pi lots that flew in the area said visibility was horrible. clouds in the area were down to almost the level of the crash scene.
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that seems to be something they will be looking into. the pilot in this incident, the ntsb said had 29,000 hours of fly time so he is an experienced pilot. they don't have all the information about what kind of electronic gear and crash avoidance mechanisms were on this plane. they say they are still gathering that information and will go back out to this crash site in the morning in hopes of getting more details. >> i know this is just breaking news today. we'll talk to some alaska officials here momentarily. what's your sense of how people of alaska are take. he's an icon in that want state. the airport you flew into to cover this story is called the ted stevens airport. what's your sense how the people of alaska are handling this news? >> reporter: one gentleman who we spoke with earlier as we got off the plane ourselves who actually said he knew former senator ted stevens said it's a
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big loss for alaska. he was a great champion for this state pap lot of folks felt he got a bad deal in terms of the congressional ethics investigations that were eventually va indicated by eric holder because of misconduct on the prosecution side. many people here are strong supporters of ted ste vaccines and very sipd at his death. >> casey, thank you for the reports tonight. i know you'll stay on top of the story. thank you. >> reporter: thank you. >> we'll take our first break. when we come back we'll be joined by the public affairs office of the national guard and talk about their role. we'll continue here on cnn "larry king live."
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welcome back. i'm tavis smiley sitting in for larry king tonight. major hayes thank you for being here. let's talk about these good samaritan pilots. tell me about those persons who first laid eyes on this crash. >> i don't know a lot who they
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are, but they definitely helped in the search and recovery. they let -- they provided us an opportunity to get our alaska national guardsmen out on the scene as quickly as possible. >> what role is the national guard playing? >> the alaskan national guard in conjunction with the coast guard, the alaska state troopers, we all work together out there. we were able to get the survivors, the four survivors from the aircraft back to anchorage this to providence hospital. also able to transport the deceased back to the air force base and that's where they are currently located. >> i keep asking this question to see if anybody knows anything more, do you know anything about the cause of the crash. was weather one of the major reasons? >> i'm sure that's something the ntsb will investigate and then that's going to be part of their
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investigation. one of the things that we know here as alaskans poor weather remains a factor when you're flying out here because it's a huge state and a lot of area to cover and weather can change drastically. low cloud cover. this morning trying to get in there was very difficult because of the visibility and the rain and the heavy wind. it definitely could have played a role. i know you have work to do. thanks tore taking the time to talk to us. joining us now mitch rose former chief of staff to ted stevens. he's the stevens family spokesperson. and we're talking to senator nelson a democrat from nebraska he and ted stevens were good friends on different sides of the aisle. mitch rose good to have you on the program. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> tell me the family. you obviously are the
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spokesperson for the family. i know this has to be devastating for the family. what can you tell me about the family. >> clearly it's devastating. they really have been heartened by the outpouring of support. president obama called mrs. stevens. alaskans have just been amazing in their support for the senator. the senate family has embraced him. i'm sure the former majority leader and others will speak to that. so it's warmed the family very much to have the support that they have and they know that alaskans love ted stevens. >> what's his legislative legacy going to be? >> well, i think all have to do is look at that 49th star in the american flag and that's his legacy. walk through the state of alaska and see the opportunity people have to stay in that want state. see the infrastructure. everything from the transalaska pipeline. the native claim settlement act.
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200 mile fishery limit. ted stevens has touched every part of that state socially, economically. he started before statehood and has carried it through. it's an enormous loss but he's made such a contribution to the state that he'll very much be missed. >> thanks for talking to us. i appreciate you taking the time. >> you bet. >> senator frist, always an honor to talk to you. you were the majority leader in the senate serving alongside your friend ted stevens. tell me about ted stevens. we hear a lot about, we just did the accomplishment, a man who made alaska number one. but behind-the-scenes, in the office of majority leader with closed doors you saw a man who was compassionate, a man who was genuine, a man that on the same day that he would wear the incredible hulk tie because he was a gruff guy and he was in there fighting, he was fighting
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for the underserved, the people who didn't have voice, the people who didn't get attention. i remember traveling with him. i fished. been in planes with him throughout alaska. we've traveled to china, around the world together representing the united states. he loved america. he loved our military. he loved the american flag. at the same time when it came down to things like family and the personal, the intimate side he was there. his daughter lily who was married last year i remember him talking before wedding he was so blessed to be able to live to the day to see her be happily married. when he had the opportunity to interact with my kids as they were growing up in washington, it would be ted stevens wearing that incredible hulk tie who would come over and give them words of encouragement at 10 years of age and 12 years of age and come with your dad and with me to the next event. it was ted stevens, the genuine, compassionate, always reaching out for the underserved and the hard driver fighting for alaska
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and military defense of our country. >> senator nelson unlike senator frist you're a democrat so you and ted stevens struck up a friendship. why was that the case? >> well ted stevens was one of the first senators that befriended me when i arrived on the scene as a freshman senator. we grew our friendship through many things we did together, traveling together, but also fishing together. he knew that i loved the outdoors so he took every opportunity to include me in things that he sought to -- that he knew i would enjoy. ted stevens never forgot where he came from and who sent him to washington. that's why he served the underserved in the state of alaska. many people in alaska feel like not only they in terms of
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distance a long way from washington, they are a long way from the minds of those of us in washington. ted made sure that was not the case. i think that's one of the reasons why people really did love him in alaska and i heard it saiim referring im as uncle ted. he was everybody's uncle, everybody's father, everybody's patron saint in the state of alaska. a wonderful man. he'll be sorely missed by not only people in alaska but a lot of us who knew him so well. >> senator frist i have a minute to go. let me give the last word. we all know when senator byrd died some weeks back he was touted and honored as the longest serving member in congress and the senate. we know today given the passing of senator stevens he was the longest serving republican in history, 40 years. what do you make of that? >> it's interesting. you compare to what's happening today, it's exactly as senator
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nelson just said it was ted stevens who was on the appropriations committee ted stevens called each other as brother. it was that reaching across the aisle. fierce party loyalty. fighting for america with republican principles. but he would not vote unless he had a partner, somebody. that's what we like to see. the coming of together. it's a passing of an era. whether the byrds or now the stevens passing it's an era that showed people working together and that's very much what americans what today. >> senator frist, senator nelson and mitch rose thank you for your time. this statement released earlier today from president obama on the passing of ted stevens. a decorated world war ii veteran, senator ted stevens devoted his career to serving the people of alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform.
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former president george w. bush issued this statement today about as iffing of former senator ted ste strengthens. laura and i are deeply saddened by the death of ted stevens and all those aboard the airplane that crashed in alaska last night. we are praying for the health and well being of the survivors. we're back now talking about the plane crash that killed five people including senator ted ste verngs four others survived. michelle new ted and others on the plane. she's a republican consultant and strategist and daughter of a former senator. thank you for being on the
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program. >> thank you for having me. >> is in you worked with senator stevens for so long tell me about the man you worked alongside on the hill. >> there's a saying in washington that senators are either work horses or show horses. ted stevens was the absolute perfect work horse. he was an absolute work horse. yes, he had -- to those that were unfamiliar with him, he scared a lot of people. he had piercing black eyes and he could see the truth from bull from a mile away. but ted stevens as you can see from the outpouring of wishes that once you worked for ted stevens, you're a lifer. i called him boss throughout these many, many years.
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he is an extraordinary -- he was an extraordinary mentor. and he was a straight shooter like i like to say since i'm a westerner. i remember one time i was counting votes, helping in a whip count when he was assistant minority leader and one of our republican senators decided that he was not going to vote with the boss and i think i used a very, a very unlady like suggestion in describing this senator and i remember the boss saying now, gal, you remember this, you never call somebody an s.o.b. until they've lied to you. once they've lied to you, they are one forever. he was a fighter pilot. he was the american dream. he came from nothing.
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he's a harvard -- he went to harvard on the g.i. bill. thank you for the g.i. bill where people who came from humble beginnings could actually realize professions such as being attorneys, doctors, whatever. he was an extraordinary human being. >> to your point, michelle of his having bean fighter pilot. if i'm treading too close let me know and i'll pull back. i want to respect your feelings what i know is a difficult time four. i was struck today by the fact that he was, in fact, as you mentioned a fighter pilot. his wife dies in a plane crash in 1978, his first wife. he survives that plane crash. as we mentioned earlier the airport in anchorage is named after him. he said once that plane crashes in alaska are an occupational hazard of alaska pilots. that's the senator talking because you got to hop on these small planes because of the way alaska is laid out. what do you make of the fact after all that he end up perishing in a plane crash.
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>> i was working for him at the time of the first crash. and it was a horrific scene, a typical campaign trip. inclement weather, crosswinds and, actually he and another fellow were in the back of the plane. and they landed on the tarmac by themselves in the tail of the plane while they are watching the remainder of the plane, a learjet coca reasoning off in the distance. and his first wife, a beautiful lady and the mother of his four children, who were more familiar with me because they were closer to my age, and he cheated death at that point and for a while he really thought that he was omnipotent which is not an unusual response after surviving that kind of a tragedy.
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when i heard that this has struck him again, you can imagine the shock for all of us having gone through the first experience. but i think ted stevens is a real optimist at heart but for the absolute morning -- you look at the passengers on the plane. they were all family. people with their children, teenagers, et cetera. he would mourn the fact that any one else was harmed in any way, but from having survived the first crash he thought he had another shot. he thought he cheated death and indeed he did. >> well, i appreciate your coming on under these difficult circumstances. a mother and a daughter died in that crash but a father and a son survived the crash. and it's mind-boggling, life is strange. thank you for coming on under these difficult circumstances. >> thank you. >> there's other news today
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involving president obama. sarah palin and charlie rangel. we'll get to all that and more after this.
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i want to welcome our panel now. stefanie miller is a progressive radio host. dana bash, co-founder of the st. louis tea party. aisha tyler. dinner improv. and talk radio show host hewitt for town hall.com. there's so much political news tonight. results are coming in. who did not see charlie rangel today. this was amazing today. veteran congressman who finally took to the floor of the house today to deny these allegations against him saying he will not resign.
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just take a watch. >> don't leave me swinging in the wind until november. if this is an emergency and i think it is to help our local and state governments out what about me? i don't want anyone to feel embarrassed, awkward. hey f-i was you i may want me to go away too. i'm most going away. i am here. >> i saw the entire speech he gave on the floor today. and i thought he made case for shichl in the sense that everybody in this country, we're all americans deserves to have a hearing and he was right on this point i want the charges exposed, i want to have my hearing, that's the way i saw it. what did you make it. >> i loved it not as a partisan thing but political theater. he went all al pacino. what kind much shows are you running here. i'm charlie rangel.
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i wanted him to sing the pat benatar classic, "hit me with your best shot." >> it's not about ideology, doesn't a democrat deserve to have his day in court? >> stefanie and i agree. i loved it too. i want charlie to have a cable channel 24/7 between now and november 2nd. he can co-host with maxine waters. he's the face of the democratic party. they will not punish him. they stand for everything he stands for. he's the swamp and nancy pelosi never drained it. in applaud the congressman as well. >> what do you call this? this is draining the swamp. >> they are bringing these charges. either we'll expose these ethics issues and bring these charges and find out if he commit ad violation or we're not draining the swamp. we can all agree no party has a monopoly on unethical behavior in washington.
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every power out of power was to claim the party in party is slimey. >> this committee was established in the era of nancy pelosi, a democrat. the chairwoman of the committee is a woman a democrat out of california, in fact. and they got maxine waters now, they got charlie rangel now, two other democrats. so is the point serious, how do you take that point seriously when you have democrats who controlled the house who are bringing up charges now on other democrats. isn't that want draining the swamp? >> i don't care what you call it. i want to see more it. i agree. if they made charlie rangel channel i would subscribe to it. if it was premium cable i would get it because every time that man opens his mouth i fall that much more with him. bring it. i love it. >> they were running a criminal syndicate out of tom delay's office.
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almost every republican was dirty with that jack abramoff scandal. my point is, they are draining the swamp. they are having an open hearing. nancy pelosi is saying let the chips fall where they may. >> didn't disagree with you. >> maxine waters, i don't think -- i mean i could be wrong but, you know, this does not seem even close to me to a lot of these other republican scandals. >> i'm glad you raised that. maxine waters on this radio show, i'm paraphrasing makes the point this committee is established under the democrats but the names that keep leaking out happen to be african-american members of congress. eight names of members of the congressional black caucus including charlie rangel and
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maxine waters have leaked out. what do you make of that? >> look, if i was a conspiracy theorist, you would see a pattern of trying to besmirched the president's name by association. i think what we have generally -- when you look at something like the trip to spain and everybody is criticizing her for taking american trips, there's this ongoing effort to call regular kind of common behavior into question and associate it somehow with race. i thibt in that want place. i don't ever want to be in that want place. >> but -- i think the r word is over used. facts or facts. names coming out happen to be members of the congressional black caucus.
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>> as you know it's a complete mistake when fox news is talking about shirley sherrod and runs footage of maxine waters by accident and talks john conyers and talks about congressman jefferson. >> the word racism is overused. at the same time what's happening there's more of a sub text of racialism where when you have somebody like rush limbaugh saying why michelle obama went to spain is black people are getting what white people enjoyed. >> hold that thought. i want to talk about michelle obama and the trip to spain. we'll continue with more on "larry king live" after this.
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welcome back to "larry king live" now joined by our panel. before the break, you were starting to lay out for us your point at least about the michelle obama trip to spain. >> the thing i'm struggling with here and i'm not going to call rush limbaugh a racist but that's a racial attitude saying black people have never traveled abroad until the first lady got her shot at spain. i mean, look, i speak three languages. i lived in europe. i lived overseas. the idea that she's getting back at white people for slavery for paying her own way to take her daughter to spain is extraordinary hyperbole. it's ridiculous. for somebody to say that
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seriously shows that there is this -- >> did you hear the program where he said it? >> i did. i heard where he said it. >> dana, let me ask you whether or not you take these allegations, these charges, coming after the first lady, do you take this stuff seriously? >> as far as her criticism for going. >> yes this is seriously. i don't agree what robert gibbs was saying. here's the deal when you start going out promoting policy, when you dip your toe into the little proverbial pool of policy you cease end being a private citizen. you can't be a private citizen when you enjoy a ton of public perks. >> she's still a mother. >> oh, my gosh. do not play that card with me. do not play that card with me. she's a mother but she's a first
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lady and she's making policy. if you don't want to be criticized don't walk in the policy. that's it right there. >> is she the first first lady who ever traveled with her family and used secret service protection. >> on policy and platform and enjoy the public perks. >> let me jump in. what do you make of the fact we're on international television and this is the subject matter we're talking about, the first lady taking a trip to spain. this cannot be a serious subject. is it for you? >> gosh i feel i'm on hollywood squares. the unemployment rate is at 9.6%. the note that says economy is week.
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the democrats are going to get wiped out. robert gibbs lashed out at the professional left today. the president's approval number is down to 41% in the "usa today" poll. michelle obama is a much needed relief story because their performance is so abysmal the united states will throw them out on november 2nd and then we can talk about why didn't we see it coming because we were talking about michelle obama and charlie rangel. >> you know what? i'll play this tape of you on my radio show after you're wrong in november. >> good. no one will hear it. >> to your point now, seriously, you firmly believe that hugh is wrong about the fact that republicans will take control of one or both house in november. >> i didn't say the senate. i said one or more. >> okay.
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you know, tavis, i think many of the media story lines over and over have been wrong. obama can't win these votes. he'll never be hillary. he'll never win these white people. so i love watching media story lines be wrong. so the democrats -- >> virginia and new jersey. >> they always lose seats that's historic. >> it is true -- hold on, dana. it is true, stefanie to your point that there are a lot of candidates who don't want the president to campaign with them. we saw the story in texas. you know, this is happening in a few places now where people want to shun the president campaigning with them. >> this happened during the bush presidency. there's always incumbent fatigue. >> texas may not be part of the union by november. it may not be an issue. >> this always happens. when an incumbent president during term elections there's
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always seats lost by the opposing party during the second, the mid-term elections. this is not new news. pun departments -- >> it is starting now. >> there have been individual occurrences over the last -- >> george w. bush won seats in 2002. >> there's a lot more -- we have a lot more to talk about with regard to the mid-term elections. we just got started. we'll talk more about what effect these issues and others will have on the mid-term elections given tonight there are some major primaries happening across the country. we'll talk about that in a moment here on "larry king live." when you pursue an mba at devry university's...
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tonight on 360 one of the strangest arguments being made in the illegal immigration battle. illegal immigrants are having kids here, taking them overseas to raise as terrorists and then come back here as u.s. citizens.
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details of the jet blue flight attendant who cursed at a passenger over the p.a. system, grabbed some beer and slid down the escape chute. he's an internet hero. just out of jail. we'll speak to a passenger sitting nearby when slater lost it. and the primaries tonight of what may happen in the mid-term elections. now back to "larry king live." we were talking here during the break on "larry king live" about the fact if the democrats lose the house and/or the senate come november, that it will likely be due to the economic condition, the fact that too many americans are jobless. we were making the point that when president obama signed an unemployment benefits deal a few weeks ago, shirley sherrod, that story made it disappear.
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the jobs bill, the issue of congressman rangel and maxine waters, ted stevens, is it enough, is it too late? am i that they could not stimulate enough jobs in this economy? >> he will with, i get your point about the 24-hour news cycle. you're right. we get all of this help with unemployed americans. look, the black lady said something. >> oh, good grief. >> it turned out to be nothing. >> you're right. >> excuse me, dana. this is -- >> i'm just calling you out. >> no. no. >> excuse me? >> did i distract you? >> i'm playing the race card? >> yes, i'm constantly calling you on your b.s.
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>> you have a radio show. be prepared. quit throwing the race card out every chance thaw get. >> excuse me? can you talk the jobs bill? let's talk the jobs bill. >> i would like to point out -- >> it's insulting. >> i would like to point out that the race card with shirley sherrod. >> you know, the issues are that you don't quit throwing the race card. >> i would love to not get yelled at. >> we're talking about the jobs bill, ladies and gentlemen. >> and we spend a lot of time talking about who is going to get re-elected, who is going to get thrown out of office and not how we are going to get things done in this country. i'm a progressive but i have a lot of conservative friends. we're not screaming at each other about who is wrong or right. we are so focused on creating drama and hits and quotes on
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what scandal is and not enough on -- >> my mom is a 78-year-old republican george bush fan. i can talk to a lot of republicans about policy. so tabitha, don't condescend people, okay? let's talk about the jobs bill. what do you know about it? because he's asked you about it and you keep deflecting. >> dana, let me ask you about the jobs bill. go. >> yes. >> you're on. >> i think it's ridiculous. you do not stimulate the economy by continuing to throw bailout after bailout at it. the whole thing about this $26 billion bill, the food stamp program had to be rated in order to facilitate this bill. $50 million out of this bill is going to be going into the pockets of unions. if you think about teachers unions, 160,000 teachers in this country. if you consider that only half
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of them are unionized, $196 for the teacherses federated of america. moderately speaking, that goes back into union's pockets. why are we doing an educational jobs bill? we had $100 billion that went to -- >> what would you do to create jobs? what would you do? >> i would layoff businesses and provide tax cuts to people and i would not keep creating public sector jobs because people do not realize that private sector pays for the public sector. >> i think people do realize that. >> i think they do. >> i think a lot of americans do realize that. but i also think that every established economists in this country has said, there is broad and widespread consensus that most of the bailout package has worked. it's protected jobs and created jobs. the government can only do so much but it is doing what is in its power to do.
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>> we've got to go to a break. we can debate that. i would like to debate you about whether or not the government has done enough, whether or not the stimulus bill has been enough. a lot of folks don't see it that way but i digress on that point. there was other news today, not just the $20 billion jobs bill today. the house also passed a $600 million border security bill today. the senate passed one bill similar some days ago. so there was some movement, it would appear today, on immigration reform. we'll talk about that in just a moment after this moment on "larry king live." and then there's most complete, like what you get from centrum ultra women's, the most complete multivitamin for women. it has vitamin d, which emerging science suggests supports breast health, and calcium for bone health. centrum ultra women's.
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breaking news. the associated press reporting that the senate with 58% of the vote has a 19-point lead over congressman bob rob, that is simmons. >> i'm indifferent on the connecticut primary. i'm interested in the colorado one. i've got to go back and correct one bit of the record.
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in 2002, the first off year election for george w. bush, house republicans picked up eight seats. in the senate they picked up two seats. the repudiation over obama is devastating in the millennium. and it represents an enormous push back against a failed economic policy and i beg to differ, even the jobs bill, it's a public sector employee bailout. it's $26 billion we don't have. the american people did not want it to happen. >> did you? >> yes. >> when you say this repudiation of president obama, what repudiation? nothing has happened yet. the election is not until november. >> thank you. >> the most precipitous drop in a presidential approval for a first-term president you have ever seen. 41%. and that is going to continue because barack obama has lost the confidence of the american people. he's in over his head.
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>> let me ask you whether or not he and the democrats can gain some of that confidence back with things like this. today, a $600 million border security bill passed. as i mentioned, that happened in the past. they will come to conference committee and work this bill out. is this a step in the right direction for those who think that we're not taking illegal immigration enough, is this going to comfort them in any way? >> it's not a conference committee that causes havoc. they pass the same bill in the house that is supposed to pass unanimous consent. but it's a joke. the democrats know that the court tree doesn't care about border defense. it's a thinly-disguised rouse and they are not going to trust nancy pelosi. >> excuse me. arrests and deportations are up under president obama than george bush.
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>> when you say $600 million, that's a joke, right? >> it will not be spent effectively to build a fence. it's 90% consensus on this. secure the border and then regularize -- >> they want comprehensive reform. that's the consensus. republicans do not want comprehensive reform. >> this is the point that i'd like to make. >> the fact that -- >> i'd just like to restate that what we talk about too much in this country is about what the other side is wrong. and not -- and i feel like we can never concede that anybody's motivation might actually be genuine. that the president might actually care about border security and we might be moving in the right direction, that we're not there yet. no matter how much money he spent, his motivations are off. he's doing something. let's support it and move forward. >> thank you.
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